Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is known to cause xerostomia and skin manifestations similar to graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). We therefore evaluated major salivary gland function in patients with hematological malignancies treated with IL-2 and interferon-α (IFN-α) after ABSCT. Eleven patients (seven male, four female) of median age 40 (24-47) were evaluated, seven with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL); one with Hodgkin's disease (HD) and three with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Parotid and submandibular salivary gland function was assessed before, during and after IL2/IFN-α administration by evaluation of the salivary flow rate and the composition of secreted saliva. Significant reductions in both the resting and stimulated parotid and submandibular salivary flow rates were observed during IL-2/IFN-α immunotherapy compared with the pre- and post-therapy values (P < 0.01), while no hyposalivation was observed in the control patients who underwent ABSCT and did not received IL-2. Sialochemical evaluation revealed a significant increase in potassium concentration (24.4 ± 0.6 mEq/l to 28.9 ± 1.4 mEq/l) and a significant decrease in sodium concentration (6.7 ± 2.1 mEq/l to 3.3 ± 1.0 mEq.l) (P < 0.05) in the stimulated parotid gland saliva secreted during IL-2/IFN-α administration. Salivary protein concentrations were not altered by the IL-2/IFN-α immunotherapy. Similar changes were previously observed in mice and humans with chronic GVHD. We conclude that IL-2 immunotherapy induces major salivary gland dysfunction in humans, similar to our previous observations in patients with chronic GVHD, which may indicate similar pathophysiologic mechanisms.
- Salivary flow rates
- Salivary glands